Many of us don’t pay a ton of attention to state legislative sessions, particularly if it’s not our state legislature. You may ask yourself, “Why should I, someone who lives in Illinois (or Oklahoma or South Dakota or wherever) care about the local politics of Washington (or Utah or New Hampshire or wherever)?”
State legislatures certainly have the biggest impact on the people who live in that state, but there’s reason to care about state legislation, even if you don’t live there. Take a look this map from Freedom For All Americans, showcasing the approximately two dozen states that have already had some sort of anti-transgender legislation or policies introduced in 2022.
Many of these bills and policies will fail to go anywhere, but some of them will make it through committee to a larger vote, some of those will pass, and some of those may even be signed into law. Anti-trans lobbyists then take those ‘victories’ to other states to expand their anti-trans agenda.
The South Dakota legislature already passed the first two anti-trans bill of 2022, one restricting trans students from using the appropriate restroom or locker room and one which would restrict trans women and girls from playing on the appropriate sports team, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem already signed the sports bill into law. Meanwhile, an Oklahoma State House committee approved a bill that would limit single-sex facilities in public schools (e.g. bathrooms, locker rooms, etc) to a student’s sex assigned at birth. And more anti-trans bills are coming.
But there is still room to fight! Here are a few things you can do to support transgender people, and to push back against the flood of anti-LGBTQ legislation appearing in state houses across the country:
FIRST: Contact Your Elected Officials! You can and should tell your governor and your state legislators what you think of the work they’re doing. Even if you already know their position, it’s important to call our allies and show your support, and to call our opponents and remind them that they are not adequately representing their constituents.
It’s especially important to call your elected officials if you live in one of the states that is working on anti-trans legislation, but there’s never a bad time to remind your elected officials to support trans rights.
SECOND: Raise Your Voice For Trans Rights! One of the ways that anti-trans bills get passed is when anti-trans lobbyists claim they’re fighting for “women” or for “the children.” Speak up and tell them they’re wrong! As Chase Strangio from the ACLU recently posted on Twitter, “If you are a cis woman, and particularly an athlete, make it clear that these laws do not protect you. Don't let them legislate hate in your name.”
Share trans stories on social media, speak out for trans rights in your community, and make sure that the supporters of trans rights are heard, loud and clear.
THIRD: Donate Your Dollars! The organizations fighting for equality and for trans rights could always use more resources. A few ideas to get you started:
The Trans Justice Funding Project “is a community-led funding initiative founded in 2012 to support grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people in the United States, including U.S. territories.”
The ACLU has a donation page specifically dedicated to the organization’s LGBTQ and HIV Project.
Black and Pink “is a prison abolitionist organization dedicated to abolishing the criminal punishment system and liberating LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS who are affected by that system through advocacy, support, and organizing.”
With your help and support, we can push back against anti-trans legislation and create a society where trans people can truly thrive.